Court Holds U.S. Retailer Accountable for Promoting Piracy

Scott Greczkowski

Scott Greczkowski

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Court Holds U.S. Retailer Accountable for Promoting Piracy by Selling IPTV Streaming Devices with Unauthorized Channels
  • Court denies retailer's attempt to use bankruptcy filing to skirt liability
  • Court instead ruled retailer must pay DISH, TVB, CCTV and CICC $4.4 million for copyright and trademark infringement
  • Ruling underscores accountability of all players involved in piracy and copyright infringement
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A bankruptcy court in Florida has ruled that Amit Bhalla, a retailer of IPTV streaming devices with unauthorized channels, cannot use a bankruptcy case to shield himself from monetary liability for copyright infringement.

In 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a permanent injunction halting the unlawful distribution of television content from programmers CCTV and TVB on TVpad devices. DISH Network, which has exclusive rights to distribute much of CCTV's and TVB's content in the United States (including through its Sling TV OTT service), and CICC, an affiliate of CCTV, were also plaintiffs in that underlying lawsuit, which began in 2015. The plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturers and distributors of the TVpad device set up a pirate broadcasting network designed to stream CCTV and TVB channels without authorization.

The court ordered manufacturers and distributors of TVpad to pay $55 million in damages to DISH, TVB, CCTV and CICC, and the injunction prohibited retailers from distributing, advertising, marketing or promoting TVpad and comparable devices that deliver CCTV's or TVB's copyrighted content.

Rather than accept responsibility for his actions, Amit Bhalla chose to file for bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid being held financially accountable. Citing Bhalla's willful and malicious conduct, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The court granted the motion, and Bhalla must now pay plaintiffs $4.4 million for copyright and trademark infringement.

"This ruling sends an important message to retailers who think they can get away with profiting off pirated content: you will eventually be held accountable, and a bankruptcy filing will not protect you," said Samuel Tsang, vice president, Operations for TVB USA. "Our hope is that, as a result of this ruling, retailers will stop selling content obtained through illegal means and instead serve their customers with legal, reliable content and devices."
 
Claude Greiner

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Dish will never see a dime. I love how they say ‘must pay’

This guy will probably just move back to Pakistan or whatever country he Came from.

By the sound of it, this retailer didn’t even bother to hire a lawyer, or decided it wasn’t worth trying to fight it.

A summery judgement is almost as bad as a default.

Still, lesson learned here is don’t do piracy
 
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Radioguy41

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Don't ya just hate acronyms? When I Google CICC it says it's a bank in Hong Kong?? TVB is a TV station in Hong Kong? Technically CCTV means Closed Circuit TV but I'm betting in this case it means China TV but why should a reader have to spend time trying to figure out what they're talking about? Down with acronyms I say, down, down! :thumbdown
 
Voyager6

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Don't ya just hate acronyms? When I Google CICC it says it's a bank in Hong Kong?? TVB is a TV station in Hong Kong? Technically CCTV means Closed Circuit TV but I'm betting in this case it means China TV but why should a reader have to spend time trying to figure out what they're talking about? Down with acronyms I say, down, down! :thumbdown
Or at least have notes explaining the acronyms.
 
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navychop

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I hope they seized his passport.
 
NYDutch

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While Dish might not see its share of Amit Bhalla's $4.4 million judgement, they may fare a little better getting their piece of the other $50 million in fines.
 
Radioguy41

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What's really ironic is the company making the box is based out of Hong Kong so essentially it was the Chinese pirating/stealing from the Chinese. I guess as long as they knockoff other's goods and services it's OK, but stealing from yourself is a no no.
 
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dishdude

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Hardly as exciting as the old days when they went after the companies selling card emulators and programmers.
 
ChadT41

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Lol. Sorry Bobby. I have nothing but immense respect for you, but I have to make the joke...

Octogenarian love making... isn’t climbing over how it happens?
 

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